Paige Hart DeVaul
Born January 2, 2011 @ 10:35am
8 lbs 10 oz & 20" long
Okay okay...she has been here for two months. But shouldn't my first blog since her birth be an announcement. I apologize that I have not kept up with this since her time on this earth, out of the womb....but as many of you know, it takes a little bit of time getting used to the whole parenting thing. I hope to add to this blog more regularly in more bite sized portions...this first post will be a doozy, as we catch up a little on Paige's beginnings.
I went into labor at 2am on 1/1/11 and was convinced that I would have a New Year baby...but after 32 hours of labor and very very slow progression, Paige was born via Cesarean on the morning of January 2, 2011. Before I could see her....I heard everyone say, "Oh she has so much hair...now that's a good sized baby." Phil got to see her come out and was right by her side as she was weighed, measured and assessed as healthy. She was quickly wrapped up and put on my chest. I held her with my own hands for minutes just looking into her big wide gray eyes. That is what I remember the most. I had to remind myself to look at her lip. It was so secondary to what was happening the moment I laid eyes on the most beautiful baby I had ever seen. I was a mom....she was ours! We had made this little being and were now entrusted to care for her.
Most commonly asked questions...
How does she eat?
I was encouraged to try and breastfeed her right away but because we couldn't trust how much milk she was getting, due to her cleft, we had to bottle feed and supplement with formula for the first couple of days. Phil and I had it down. I would breastfeed her for five minutes and then hand her off to Phil while I pumped the rest and he fed her milk I had previously pumped and then finished up with formula until she was full.
We started using the Pigeon nipple which is really wide with a cross cut that allows the milk to flow a little faster for her. She drank so slow...we were excited when she drank 10ml in an hour. We then tried the Medela Special Needs Feeder, which are special bottles that have long nipples that go far into her mouth and has a part of the bottle that allows you to squeeze milk into her mouth. The only thing is this bottle costs over $25 a piece. Both of these bottles are specially made for babies with clefts but many babies are successful with regular bottles with cross cuts that you do yourself. For cost reasons we decided to try this and settled for Dr. Brown's bottles. It's nice to just use a bottle that looks like one any baby would have. She can now get down 2-3oz in 30-60 min. It only blurts out of her nose from time to time, and she really hates it when it happens. She just looks at me with tears in her eyes, like "Why?" The feeding nurse at CHOC and her pediatrician are very pleased with her weight gain and are not concerned. She was 9 lbs 10 oz two weeks ago. They require her to be 10 lbs and 10 weeks in order to do her first surgery.
Ultimately she does not have enough suction to breastfeed and therefore I am exclusively pumping. I was very happy that I have enough milk to have a supply in the freezer and she does not need any formula. It is a lot of work but I am happy to do it. She is completely worth it. As of today I have pumped more than 293 times and over 140 hours. Fun facts available because of an iphone app tracker. As Phil likes to say..."we live in the future." The nice part of bottle feeding is that I have the help of others to feed her, like Paige's wonderful daddy and even her little cousin, Lily!
What is her Cleft like?
We were happily surprised that her lip was considered an incomplete cleft. That means it does not go all the way through her nostril. We were not able to tell this on the ultrasounds. Her nostril is intact but a little flattened. Her case should be a little easier to fix. Her gum line is affected but it is also incomplete. Which means there is a notch but it too does not go all the way into her nose. Her soft and hard palate are completely clefted. It looks like an open slit in the roof of her mouth and because of the separation her uvula is separated and appears to be missing. The surgeon will probably sew it back together so it looks like she has one. Her lip and nose will be fixed about 3-4 months and her palate will be at 9-12 months. I hope to get a better picture of her palate soon and I will post it once I do. You can always click on the "Paige's Cleft Journey" page to the right for updates on her surgeries and such.
Our little girl...
In some ways its like her cleft isn't even there for us and truly is just a part of her, but in many ways it gives her personality and I think its cute. I heard before that people miss their little ones' first smiles after surgery, and I am beginning to totally understand that. Here she is at 5 weeks old giving her very first smiles.
See her smiles in action...